Kyle Kuan, Tosiron Adegbija
2019 Proceedings of the 2019 on Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI - GLSVLSI '19  
Spin-Transfer Torque RAM (STTRAM) is a promising alternative to SRAMs in on-chip caches, due to several advantages, including nonvolatility, low leakage, high integration density, and CMOS compatibility. However, STTRAMs' wide adoption in resource-constrained systems is impeded, in part, by high write energy and latency. A popular approach to mitigating these overheads involves relaxing the STTRAM's retention time, in order to reduce the write latency and energy. However, this approach usually
more » ... equires a dynamic refresh scheme to maintain cache blocks' data integrity beyond the retention time, and typically requires an external refresh buffer. In this paper, we propose mirrorCache-an energy-efficient, buffer-free refresh scheme. MirrorCache leverages the STTRAM cell's compact feature size, and uses an auxiliary segment with the same size as the logical cache size to handle the refresh operations without the overheads of an external refresh buffer. Our experiments show that, compared to prior work, mirrorCache can reduce the average cache energy by at least 39.7% for a variety of systems.
doi:10.1145/3299874.3318022 dblp:conf/glvlsi/KuanA19 fatcat:qns6nfurvfcxxkg6r5mrvjbzpq